The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah on Sunday invoked cow politics at a rally in Noida. He also made a reference to slaughterhouses, in a joke, juxtaposing it with a specific caste.
“An aggrieved elderly citizen belonging to the Jat community once visited our office to register his complaint. He told me that one morning, while he was carrying his sugarcanes in a bullock cart to the nearby market for sale, he stopped mid-way to buy guavas. When he came back with the guavas, his bull was missing. I told him to register a complaint with the police because the UP police was already tracking Azam Khan’s lost buffaloes. But then he revealed that his bull was stolen by the slaughterhouse people,” Shah said.
As the crowd cheered to his dog-whistle narrative, Shah announced that the BJP, when it is voted to power, will come down on slaughterhouses from Day 1. “When BJP comes to power in Uttar Pradesh, we will ban all unregulated slaughterhouses on Day 1,” Shah said.
Shah’s speech also evoked the Dadri lynching incident, in which an unruly mob had lynched a Muslim man to his death, over allegations of cow slaughter. Bisada, the village where the incident took place, is located around 20km from Noida.
In 2016, several incidents were reported across the Hindi heartland, in which ‘cow vigilantes’ had beaten up meat transporters. The Bisada lynching and the cow vigilantism had attracted nationwide attention and saw BJP on the back foot as the party, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had earlier campaigned heavily against bovine slaughter.
Even in 2014, during the Lok Sabha elections, party president Amit Shah and BJP leaders Sangeet Som and Sanjeev Balyan had faced criticism for their inflammatory speeches in western UP belt, in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Around 60 people were killed in the riots and thousands have been displaced.
Shah also attacked Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav saying that he asks for the caste and religion of the people before giving them free laptops. He said that only his party will not discriminate people on their caste or religion.
“Akhilesh Yadav promised free laptops to the youth of UP but have the Noida youth received any? It is because Yadav asks for your caste and religion before handing out laptops. We will never ask your caste before giving free laptops,” Shah said.
In his thirty-minute speech, Shah discussed issues ranging from the development of the state, job creation for youth to cow slaughter and anti-Romeo squads to safeguard women.
“We will ensure that our girls are safe in the state from the Samajwadi Party goons. Every police station will have anti-Romeo squads, which will hang these SP goons upside down and teach them a lesson,” Shah said.